Ultimate Ears' Attenuator fixes MBP Headphone Issues (and fits iPhone)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by martinmartin, Dec 27, 2007.

  1. martinmartin macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2007
    You might be aware that the MBP has some strange audio hisses and noises, particularly out of the headphone jack.

    After losing my Shure e4c 's on my way home from China, I decided to get another pair of earbuds. I went with the Ultimate Ears super.fi 5 pro.

    I popped the earbuds into the headphone jack on my 2.4 SR MBP and the hisses, pops, whines, etc. really came through. I wasn't surprised, headphones like these only exacerbate these types of problems.

    Then I tried to plug the phones into my iPhone, they didn't fit - no surprise.

    Then I took out the attenuator (picture attached) that came with the headphones. I plugged the earbuds into the attenuator and then the attenuator into the MBP - no more hisses or noises whatsoever. The volume is somewhat decreased (though it can still go loud enough to damage your hearing), and I can't detect any audio quality issues.

    Then I plugged the attenuator into the iPhone and it fit there too - a nice bonus.

    My Shures came with one of these things and I don't ever remember using it, but I might compare it with the UE's.

    Just thought I'd share this with you guys in case anyone out there is bothered by the noises as much as I was.


    Attached Files:

  2. 3rdparty macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2008
    I've found the problem with this is that the attenuator clips certain levels (such as drums/cymbals) - noticeably affecting the quality of the music.
  3. martinmartin thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2007
    You might be right, but the hissing from our MBPs, in my opinion, is much worse than the negative effects of the attenuator.
  4. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    I noticed plugging in an external DAC and amp cleans out the issues quite nicely.
  5. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    Sounds like its doing its job :)

    Id test with my pair, but when im on the go, i dont have my mbp, and when im at home, i generally connect via optical out to my z-5500's and the UE SFi 5 cord is too short to reach my elevator stand anyway.

    Glad they included it, but I dont really pay attention to in flight movies.
  6. Coldwater macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2008
    Without the attenuator I can hear a terrible amount of "white noise" emanating from just about any speaker/headphone port. With it, everything sounds perfectly clear and the drums/cymbals are just as punchy as ever. I've used these for about two years now, and for the last 20 months or so I have never unplugged the attenuator once. Whatever non-existent bass loss (to me at least) there is, it's worth it.

    On a related note, has anyone else noticed that music played from their computer (mainly desktop) has much richer bass then from their iPod? It always feels...weaker, and while my friends disagree none of them use what I would call a decent set of headphones. Two years ago the thought of buying an amp was ridiculous, but now I'm not so sure.

    Oh and does anyone have any experience with the Triple Fi's? I was considering an upgrade and was wondering if the quality was that much better.

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